The physical pain I’d endured for years was growing in intensity and the duration of each episode was growing longer. The many rounds of various gall bladder tests and scans showed nothing unusual. I was weary of looking for answers. The pain was growing worse and I was ready to give up eating.
My favorite idol had become my enemy.
If you read my post Wednesday, you know that my “favorite idol” is food.
I’ve looked to food for:
I’ve spent a LOT of time thinking about food, craving food, anticipating—no—lusting for: lots of cheesy sauces, flaky pastries and hot-buttered bread, creamy desserts, and CHOCOLATE—always chocolate!
Hot doughnuts were to die for (almost literally).
I could get downright demanding when it came to food. Food was (and still can be) a HUGE, out of whack priority in my life.
When God opened my eyes to my idolatry, I couldn’t believe it.
Food, an idol? Yep, food.
Idol: What I crave, worship, and live for
If I define an idol as anything that occupies the seat of my heart, food fits that description far too often. By “occupying the seat of my heart” I mean that it drives my desires; when those desires aren’t met, they become demands. My thoughts are preoccupied with my idol, my lifestyle caters to it, my money is spent (excessively) on it, I have lustful cravings for it, and I can get really cranky if I’m denied it.
I want it so much I’m willing to sin to get it.
Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying, eating is not a sin. Being overweight isn’t a sin.
Gluttony IS sin.
If food is your idol—you will always struggle with gluttony.
Listen to what Proverbs 23:2 says to people like me:
[box]”. . . and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.”[/box]
I remember reading this verse one day and thinking, “Oh, my. If I obeyed this literally, I’d have to slit my throat—because I AM a glutton!”
When God first opened my eyes to my idolatry of food, I was first blown away, then broken.
When I was willing to consider that God wasn’t kidding, that He was seriously letting me know I was worshiping food . . . I started recognizing that food really did matter WAY too much to me.
I repented. I entered an extended period of fasting. During that fast it became very clear that food had grabbed my heart, or to be more accurate, I’d given my heart to food. While fasting, food became of little importance and God’s presence became all encompassing. After a few days, I really didn’t want to come down from the mountain-top experience of fasting . . . because I feared the battle with food would start again.
And it did.
This would be the first of many battles with my favorite idol. Through the years I would have seasons of victory, but far more years of defeat. And then one day I heard my doctor telling me this:
“You’ll never be able to eat gluten again.”
I was so ignorant, I didn’t even know what gluten was. I thought it might be related to glucose.
Sugar? Can he be saying I can’t eat sugar ever again? Surely not.
I had lost a lot of weight, was struggling with eating anything at all because I was having so much stomach pain, so I’d gone in for an EGD (a stomach scope) to determine if I had ulcers. Thankfully when my gastroenterologist saw I had no ulcers, he took a biopsy from my small intestine.
The biopsy revealed that I have Celiac disease.
When he explained that I’d never be able to eat anything with wheat, oats or barley ever again—I knew.
I knew that my food idolatry had finally caught up with me. The Father was going to make it a little easier for me to get my gluttony under control. He was removing my favorite foods from the shelf.
Bread, pasta, cakes, cookies, flaky pastries . . . I was watching them leave my life forever. I sat stunned as I listened to the doctor explain in great detail the repercussions of ignoring the seriousness of this disease.
Now please don’t misunderstand me. I am NOT saying that if you have Celiac, or a food allergy, diabetes, or any food related illness, I am NOT saying that God is disciplining you with that because you’re a glutton, or in sin, or anything like that. NOT AT ALL.
I’m just telling you that as I sat there receiving the news, I knew.
I knew and wasn’t surprised at all. I actually see it as a gracious discipline from the Father.
I knew I’d been disobedient for a very long time when it came to dealing with this idol and now He was graciously dealing with it for me.
Monday I’ll share more of that story with you, but today, do you struggle with my favorite idol?
If you can relate at all to what I’m saying, let me encourage you to read this post: Two Kinds of Desires. Also “Getting to the Root of the Problem” might be helpful and this one that provides steps to take when you recognize the need to repent. If you missed this post on “Smashing Idols” you might want to check it out as well.
What is your “favorite” idol and how have you smashed it?